This thought occurred to me examining the PFF grades at each position through 14 weeks: If I were a GM and needed help on the offensive line in 2019, I might look extra harder at the draft. The five richest contracts given to free-agent offensive linemen last spring, and how they have performed in 2018:
Nate Solder, tackle, N.Y. Giants, $15.5-million average compensation. Played better lately, but the highest-paid tackle in NFL history is only the 17th-best left tackle and 36th-best overall tackle, per PFF ratings.
Andrew Norwell, guard, Jacksonville, $13.3-million average compensation. Better than Solder, but the second-highest-paid guard of all-time is PFF’s 13th-rated guard in the NFL this year.
Ryan Jensen, center, Tampa Bay, $10.5-million average compensation. Only three starting centers in the league are rated lower than Jensen, who has flopped in Tampa. He’s been penalized nine times and given up nine QB hits, each the most in the league for a center.
Weston Richburg, center, San Francisco, $9.5-million average compensation. Just three spots better than Jensen, Richburg is the 32nd-rated center in the league, and has allowed a porous 27 sacks/hits/significant pressures.
Justin Pugh, guard, Arizona, $9-million average compensation. His season ended in mid-November with a knee injury that forced him to IR. But he hadn’t been playing well, and PFF has him the 53rd-rated guard in the league. And this is the fourth season in a row that Pugh’s total snaps have been less than the season before.